Staggering reduction in bags one year on from plastic ban
THOUSANDS fewer plastic bags are being put into the community each week since Queensland banned their use one year ago, a supermarket owner has revealed.
Yesterday marked one year since the ban on single-use lightweight plastic bags.
IGA Springfield store owner Terry Slaughter said about 1000 plastic bags were now purchased by customers each week, compared to the 7000 handed out when plastic bags were free.
"Our customers have adjusted well to the changes," he said.
"Many bring their own bags and have told us they are happy to play their part.
"We have alternatives available for customers to use, including multiple-use bags provided to us by the Greater Springfield Landcare Group."
Environment Minister Leeanne Enoch visited the Springfield IGA and said there had been at least a 70 per cent drop in plastic bag litter since the introduction of the ban.
"Before the ban was introduced last year, up to 16 million single-use plastic shopping bags ended up in our environment every year," she said.
"These have significant impacts on our environment, waterways and species. But now, thanks to our ban on single-use lightweight plastic bags, we are seeing an incredible drop."
Ms Enoch said supermarkets, such as the IGA at Springfield, had played a big role in the success of the plastic bag ban.
"In the last 12 months this store alone has taken around 364,000 single-use bags out of circulation, or about 7000 per week, which is wonderful," she said.
"Each bag that is taken out of circulation is one less bag that can end up in the environment or wasted in landfill."
The State Government also today released a new strategy to reduce waste, increase recycling, cut greenhouse gas emissions and protect our environment.
"To kick-start this transition, implementation of the strategy will be underpinned by the reintroduction of a waste disposal levy, which commences today," she said.
"Research shows most Queenslanders believe it is important to minimise waste going into landfill, and more than two-thirds of Queenslanders are trying to do that.
"The waste levy will help to grow the recycling and resource recovery sector - creating jobs - while reducing the amount of waste ending up in landfill.
"There are more jobs in recycling than landfill, so this is a clear economic opportunity for Queensland."
LNP leader Deb Frecklington has slammed the waste levy as a tax grab.
"Labor's taxes are toxic for Queensland," she said.
"Annastacia Palaszczuk is taking billions from the pockets of Queenslanders, making life even tougher for struggling families and small businesses.
"Despite Labor's giant tax grab, our debt is soaring to over $90 billion."
Ms Enoch said Queensland's waste generation was growing faster than the population, with more than 10 million tonnes of waste created last year.
She said only 45 per cent of that was redirected away from landfill.
The government aims to get 90 per cent of waste redirected away from landfill by 2050.
"We have to think a bit like how our grandparents used to think and their parents used to think... how do you reuse things?"